Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Lion Ark rescue movie screens at Irvine Film Festival Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Posted: 13 January 2014

Lion Ark, the dramatic documentary that tells the story of 25 lions rescued from cruel Bolivian circuses and their 5,000 mile journey to safety in the United States, is one of eleven films competing at the 2014 Irvine International Film Festival for “Best Documentary” next week. A total of over 50 films will be showcased at the prestigious Orange County film festival, which will also honor John G. Avildsen, Oscar-winning director of Rocky, and actor Ed Asner.

Lion Ark screens at Irvine International Film Festival on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:00pm (Laguna Hills Cinema).

The film wowed audiences at Starz Denver Film Festival with four back to back sell out screenings – the most of the festival. The surprise hit also sold out shows at Raindance Film Festival, London, and Mill Valley Film Festival, California. The film has won Audience Choice Best Documentary at San Diego Film Festival, Best Documentary at Sun & Sand Film & Music Festival, and an Audience Choice Award at Anchorage International Film Festival.

Made more in the style of an action adventure than traditional documentary, Lion Ark follows how a team from Animal Defenders International (ADI) secured a ban on animal circuses in Bolivia, and then, when the circuses defied the law, set about rescuing every animal. Twenty-five lions saved during the operation were airlifted to a new life in Colorado in the biggest ever operation of its kind.

Key to the film’s success with audiences seems to be that it follows this entire rescue operation live without cutting to talking heads or archive footage. Audiences are there with the rescuers and the animals, facing the challenges they face.

Tim Phillips, Director of Lion Ark says: “We are delighted that audiences are responding so positively to the film. People get an opportunity to really engage with these animals and see how their lives transform during the course of the film. This is a film about a serious subject but people are leaving movie theaters with a smile on their face. This is a film about hope and bringing about change.”



High resolution stills from Lion Ark and broadcast quality one minute clips of scenes are available on request.

See the Lion Ark Trailer online at:

Lori De Waal, 323-462-4122
ADI Films Media Desk 323-804-9920

JANUARY 14th: Irvine International Film Festival
8:00pm at Laguna Hills Cinema
24155 Laguna Hills Mall Road Laguna Hills, CA 92653
$10. Click here for ticket information.

“a spunky account of a perilous rescue mission...Lion Ark proceeds with refreshing unpredictability.”
– Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“Compelling cinema verité”
– Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

“If you enjoy movies filled with suspense, thrills, surprises, adventure and action, put Lion Ark on your must-see list. For me, Lion Ark is the feel-good movie of the year!”
– Betty Jo Tucker, Reel Talk

“heartwarming, beautiful and inspirational. It reminds you of the majestic power of documentary filmmaking and it’s ability to stir true emotion.”
– Justin Bozung, Shock Cinema Magazine / Mondo Film & Video Guide

“…this film should be a target for this year’s Oscars. Excellent.”
– ACED Magazine
“Lion Ark is through and through entertaining…be ready for some up-tempo action-adventure of the most thrilling variety: real-life.”
– Stark Insider

“thoroughly rewarding...”
– TV and Film Review

“Lion Ark is an awe-inspiring journey that grips and engages”
– Britflicks

“Lion Ark takes an already incredible and unforgettable story and breathes life and passion and transformation into of your must-see films of 2013.”
– The Independent Critic

“A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary”
– Edgar Vaid, The Ecologist

“will restore some faith in humanity”
– JM Willis,

“Lion Ark is a film that will grab your attention and your heart”
– Alexis Higgins, CMR Movie Reviews and News

“ultimately an uplifting story. It’s a revealing documentary with a lot of heart.”
– Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

“AMAZING! Viewers will be crying tears of joy throughout...”
– Renee Snyder, International Animal Welfare Examiner, The Examiner

More reviews and links to all above reviews are available here

- Irvine International Film Festival
The Irvine International Film Festival (IIFF) celebrates the power of individual expression and diverse points of views. IIFF is dedicated to bringing to Orange County the finest films from around the world.

- Film Festival Selections
Winner Best Documentary (Jury Award), Sun & Sand Film & Music Festival
Winner Audience Choice Best Documentary, San Diego Film Festival
Official Selection Raindance Film Festival, London
Official Selection Mill Valley Film Festival
Official Selection Hawaii International Film Festival
Official Selection Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
Official Selection Virginia Film Festival
Official Selection Starz Denver Film Festival
Official Selection Irvine International Film Festival
Official Selection Beloit International Film Festival

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